Our children love routines. Why? It makes them feel secure when they know what is going to happen next.
A bedtime routine consisting of the same things being done in the same order, sends a message to their brain and body that it is time to sleep. The goal of the bedtime routine is to be a calming time to get your child ready for sleep.
Bedtime routines should be started by the time your child is 3 months old. The routine may change as your child grows but it will always be important to have a consistent routine each night.
Massage can be a helpful, calming part of the bedtime routine.
What should your routine look like?
Every family is different, you need to find what will work for you and your child. Some options that might work for you are:
nursing or a bottle, especially for an infant
story time or read a book
lullaby or special song
special words or phrases
snuggle time until drowsy but not until asleep
A routine should be kept fairly short, so I would not suggest using everything on this list. It is best to have a routine last between ten and thirty minutes. Choose a routine which is easy for you or another caretaker to follow.
Avoid rocking to sleep as part of the routine. You may rock while reading a book but don’t rock the child completely to sleep. The routine should bring your child to a drowsy state where their body is relaxed and ready to fall asleep.
A toddler may need you to remind them that the routine is almost over, such as; we have only two more pages of our book to read.
Your toddler might try to persuade you to extend the routine by “one more book” or “one more more drink of water” You must be firm. This will prevent having to deal with a “one more” each night.
Bedtime should be a pleasant end to the day. Having a routine allows the child to know what is happening and what to expect next. That gives a sense of security.
I would love to help you make bedtime a more enjoyable experience for you and your child.
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